French Communist Leader. Born in Noyelles-Godault, France, into poverty, he became a coal miner at the age of 12. In 1919, he joined the Socialist Party, after a year he transferred his allegiances to the Communist Party. Imprisoned several times for his political beliefs, he eventually became Secretary General of the Franch Communist Party in 1930. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1932 and after the signing of the Nazi Soviet Pact in 1939, Thorez went to live in the Soviet Union and become leader of the underground party in France. After France was liberated in the summer of 1944, the country's new government acknowledged the important role played by communists by permitting Thorez to return home. In the 1945 elections, the Communist Party became the strongest political group in France with 25 per cent of the vote. The party joined forces with the new Socialist Party to form a government and Thorez became deputy prime minister serving (1946-47). He remained party chairman until his death from a paralytic illness at age 64 while on a black Sea cruise.
Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith